real life

The corner of the internet people go to share their final memories of dead loved ones.

Trigger warning: If you are currently grieving the lost of a loved one, this post may bring up issues for you.  

In a corner of the internet lives a thread called Last Images. There are currently 50,000 subscribers to the public forum, and it’s a place where these 50,000 strangers share their most personal memories.

Last Images is the place people go to remember their loved ones who have died. They post the last image they have of the person, sharing a story about their relationship with them. And they immediately find a support network of like-minded people who have gone through something similar.

The rules for the forum are simple. There can be no laughing at anyone’s expense; posters must provide full context along with an image; and there are to be no graphic photos shared.

To some, it sounds morbid, but for those who have used the thread, it’s a safe space filled with people who are helping each other grieve.

One user named Rachel posted a photo of her late boyfriend, Merrick, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2015. The photo was viewed by over 75,000 people and Rachel was overwhelmed with messages of support.

Rache and Merrick before his death. Image via Reddit.

“I posted on Last Images because I wanted some support from people I could talk to anonymously," she tells Vocativ.

"I just felt like I wanted him to know I was still thinking about him in a different way than just with my family and friends. For someone to take the time to write a comment of support to me, considering I’m a complete stranger, is incredibly comforting."

And she's not the only one.

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A user named grannypunx shared a photo of their father the day before he died of a heart attack.

Image via Reddit.

"My dad always knew he would die young, even though the heart attack was super unexpected," Grannypunx writes.

"He was sure no one would ever come to his funeral. On the contrary, the crematorium was so packed we had to organize a TV screen to be put outside just so everyone could experience the service."

Another user named awlilnatty shared a photo of her best friend, who died along with her sister after traveling around Morocco for three months.

A user named Natty shared this image of her best friend Tara (left) and Pippa (right) before they died. Image via Reddit.
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There are 64 comments on awlilnatty's photo, each offering their love and support.

A user named nurimoons posted a photo of herself with her dad, who passed away at 49 after a short battle with cancer.

Image via Reddit.

"He was my best friend and I miss him every day," she wrote alongside the image.

Carla Sofka, a professor who specializes in grief, tells Vocativ Last Images is the perfect place to go to when you feel like no one in your life understands what you've been through.

“The average person you run into in your life doesn’t know what to say. They’re taught the canned ‘I’m sorry for your loss. You have my condolences'," she says.

“But this site, you go there and you’re going to find people who are going to relate, people who truly care and want to take the time to support you. It’s an amazing and rare opportunity that you’re not likely to get in real life.”

Last Images serves as a beautiful reminder that not all of the internet is a terrible place. There are still good people out there, and they'll be there to support you if you need it.

If this post brought up any issues for you, or you just feel like you need someone to talk to after reading it, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time of the day or night.

This post originally appeared on Spring St and was republished with permission.